The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, and his Church of Ireland counterpart, Archbishop Richard Clarke, have urged people to “be family” for others, including those who may be estranged from their own family circle. In a joint Holy Week and Easter message, the leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches in Ireland said we are living in a time when families are “under threat from a myriad of pressures”, yet the need for their care and love grows with each passing day.
The two archbishops also referred to the opportunity that is approaching for “Christians of different traditions” to share in the World Meeting of Families in Dublin this summer. An icon of the Holy Family in the form of a triptych (detail pictured), to encourage reflection and prayer ahead of the gathering, was to be presented to Pope Francis at his weekly General Audience in Rome on Wednesday.
A series of events marking Romero Week culminates today (Saturday) with a Mass at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, and Evensong at Westminster Abbey, with a performance of an anthem by Sir James MacMillan commissioned by the abbey for Archbishop Romero’s centenary last year. Earlier this week, the distinguished Salvadoran politician, Rubén Zamora (above), spoke at an ecumenical service in London commemorating the 38th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom. The congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields cheered when Mr Zamora made reference to the recent news of the archbishop’s canonisation.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, Thomas Williams, on Tuesday attended a memorial service in Warrington to mark the 25th anniversary of the IRA bomb attack. The blast in the Cheshire town killed two boys, 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Jonathan Ball, and injured more than 50 people. The service, held on the street where the attack happened, was attended by Anne, Princess Royal, as well as victims of the attack, faith leaders and representatives of the British and Irish governments.
In an initiative backed by Pope Francis, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales called on Catholics to take part in a day of prayer on 23 March for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Bishop Mark O’Toole, speaking about a Holy Hour taking place in the cathedral in Plymouth, told The Tablet: “I have recognised how important it is for the Church not only to have good safeguarding procedures in place, but also to provide opportunities of prayer and intercession which will hopefully bring healing to those most affected.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols will be taking part in a public conversation at a book festival in Scotland with the composer Sir James Macmillan. Organisers say Cardinal Nichols “will be talking about his life and passion for sacred music, with recorded excerpts”. The conversation is taking place on 5 May at the Boswell Book Festival in Cymnock. Sir James told The Tablet: “English cardinals don’t come north much, so we are all excited about this!” Recalling that the cardinal had asked him to write two motets for his installation as Archbishop at Westminster Cathedral in 2009, Sir James added: “He is a great supporter of the amazing choir there, who have performed so much of my music over the years. Also I’m interested in the wider issues, social, spiritual and political that he raises in his new book [Faith Finding a Voice, published on 5 April].”
Douai anniverary celebrations
Ushaw College, the former seminary in County Durham, was the venue for the first of a series of events marking the 450th anniversary of the founding of the English College in Douai, in France, in 1568. Mass was to be celebrated on Tuesday by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Adams, assisted by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, the chair of the Ushaw trustees, and other bishops. A new exhibition will also open, telling the dramatic story of the establishment of the college and featuring objects, relics and papers from Douai, including a silver collection buried under the floorboards in 1793 when the students were evicted during the French Revolution.